There are two employment markets.
One offers jobs.
The other, careers.
For those who get hired in the job market, dissatisfaction is rampant, performance is problematic, and turnover is high.
The job market is filled with active candidates. Active candidates represent 10 to 20 percent of the people in any job class. These people are willing to take ill-defined jobs, endure the lack of a response when applying, accept the fact they need to undergo a pre-hire assessment test before they know the job, recognize they'll be improperly interviewed, and are willing to accept offers that are designed by committee.
Passive candidates, and all high-performing active candidates, won't stand for this. These people play a different hiring game. They are interested only in career moves. This group represents 80 to 90 percent of the talent pool. These are the people every company wants to hire. If you want to hire them, here are the rules of their game.
1. I'm not looking for another job, but I'm open to an exploratory discussion.
Forget about me applying. Let's just grab a coffee and tell me why your open position could represent a unique opportunity.
2. Let's clarify real job needs.
What are the three or four big things the person hired will be working on during the first year? If these meet my career needs, I'm willing to invest more of my time discussing the opportunity.
3. Let's get more acquainted before getting too serious.
I want to talk with the hiring manager before I'll agree to an onsite interview. If the hiring manager isn't willing to make the time for this, he/she is clearly not interested in building a strong team.
4. Let's understand each other.
Please ask me about my accomplishments and what I'm looking for in a potential job change. If you're not willing to do this, I'll just opt-out of the process, but thanks for your time.
5. OK, you got me.
Let's get semi-serious now that the broad outlines of the job seem to represent a career move. Tell me a little more about the financial package and the importance of the job as it relates to your company's strategy.
6. Now I'm ready to become a serious candidate.
I'm willing to come onsite and be fully interviewed but don't use behavioral interviewing. People who rely on this obviously don't know the real requirements of the job. Instead, dig deep into my accomplishments, find out what motivates me, and learn how I deal with people and if I fit into your culture.
7. I have some serious questions about your (the hiring manager's) management style.
Let me understand who's on the team, how they were selected, and how you mentor, manage, and develop people. You need to know how I like to be managed too. If there isn't a fit here, let's stop the process. Otherwise, there will be a serious problem for both of us in a few months.
8. I need to meet the team and the senior management group.
As part of the final interviewing round, I'd like to meet your (the hiring manager's) boss, some of your peers, and the key people on your team I'll be working with. There needs to be a fit on all of these fronts, too, otherwise we'll all be unhappy.
9. Let's negotiate an offer.
While the financial package is not unimportant, most important is the scope of the job and what I can learn, do, and become if successful. I'm looking for at least a 30 percent increase on these non-monetary factors. We can negotiate the compensation if this type of 30 percent career move exists.
10. Let's meet and clarify job expectations before I accept the offer.
If we're not both in agreement on the broad expectations of the job before I accept the offer and how I plan to deliver the results, it could quickly become a serious problem.
This is how you play in the career market and hire people who are actually motivated and competent to do the actual work you want done. The benefits include higher performance, increased job satisfaction, higher levels of engagement, and reduced turnover. Or continue to play the hiring game in the job market as you've always played it. In this market, even if you win, it will be short lived.